Roses Don’t Grow In Havana

flowersThe cruise ship Adonia, operated by Fathom Travel, a unit of Carnival Corporation, docked in Havana, Cuba on Monday with 704 passengers aboard. At any other seaport anywhere in the world, this would hardly be a newsworthy event. Because the ship had traversed the 90-miles of ocean between Miami and Havana, it was a sight that had not been witnessed in forty years due to the severance of diplomatic ties between the two countries. To those younger than forty, it was a spectacle they had never witnessed, and they gathered at the dock with cell phones to snap pictures of the historic landing.

Because I had previously spent three years in Havana, I was not aboard the Adonia nor did I want to be, but I can tell you this. As Havana is located on the waterfront, it smells like Lake Michigan, and because the water is the Atlantic Ocean, the air is damp and salty. The climate is tropical and muggy, and hurricanes are frequent. Due to these factors, one cannot beg, borrow, steal or buy a rose bush in Havana. Palm trees are everywhere and flowering shrubs that thrive in acidic conditions do well, but alas, no roses. To circumvent this ghastly shortage, I painted  these while in Havana, and put them by the front door least I forgot what a rose looked like.

roses

Only this left to say. I will never be on that cruise ship because not only do roses not thrive in Havana, it hurt my heart to witness people living without personal freedoms.

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